House Passes Funding, Avoids Government Shutdown

House Republicans and Democrats came together to pass a stopgap funding measure to avoid a government shutdown. 

Tuesday, November 14th 2023, 5:28 pm



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New Speaker of the House Mike Johnson passed the first big test of his leadership, as Republicans and Democrats came together Tuesday afternoon to pass, 336-95, a stopgap funding measure to avoid a government shutdown. The question now is, will it come back to haunt him? 

A month and a half after a small group of hardcore conservatives ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker because, to avoid a shutdown, McCarthy moved a clean continuing resolution with unchanged funding levels a strong bipartisan support, Speaker Johnson pushed through a very similar CR.

“Oh, it’s essentially identical to that,” said Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole in an interview Tuesday.

Representative Cole (R-OK4) says there was no justification for removing McCarthy and he believes the Republican conference made a big mistake in January when it changed the rules to allow one person to file a motion to vacate, which is what Florida’s Matt Gaetz successfully did in early October. 

“We paid a price for it as a party and the institution paid a price for it, and I regret that it happened,” Cole stated soberly. “I think, because it happened, it’s less likely to happen in the near term again.”

In other words, Cole believes Johnson is safe from a similar motion to vacate now, even though 95 Republicans voted against the CR, complaining that the stopgap measure that came to the floor did not contain spending cuts nor any border security provisions.

Johnson says he's committed to change but has to pick his battles.

“Look, it took decades to get into this mess, right? I've been at the job less than three weeks,” Rep. Johnson (R-LA) told reporters Tuesday, “I can't turn an aircraft carrier overnight. But this was a very important first step to get us to the next stage so that we can change how Washington works.

Johnson believes the two-step continuing resolution the House passed is a first step because it ensures Congress will not jam through a massive omnibus spending package just before Christmas, as has happened in some years past. 

The CR would extend funding, at their current FY 2023 levels, through January 19 for agencies including Transportation, Housing, Agriculture, and Energy. Other agencies, including Defense, Homeland Security, and State would be funded through February 2.

Democratic leadership in the Senate also appears to be on board.

“I'm heartened, very cautiously so,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), “that Speaker Johnson is moving forward with a CR that precisely omits the sort of hard right cuts that would've been non-starters for Democrats.”

President Biden has not said so specifically but would be expected to sign a continuing resolution that made it to his desk with bipartisan support.

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